ONE of York's few remaining privately owned hotels will close its doors next week.

Knavesmire Manor Hotel in Tadcaster Road, once the home of the Rowntree family, is set to return to being a private residence.

Plans have been submitted to City of York Council for the change of use of the 20-bedroom hotel near York Racecourse to a residential dwelling, and also for the demolition of an 'unsympathetic' rear chalet extension and a fire escape.

Owner Tim Reid, who has sold the hotel to the Helmsley Group, based at Monks Cross, said the elegant Georgian Manor House, built in 1833 and still retaining many original period features, had been a hotel for about 30 years.

"I have run it for the past 15 years and it was turned into a hotel from a nursing home by its previous owners, Mr and Mrs Senior," he said.

"I have had a wonderful time here but have decided it's time to move on to a new business venture."

He said a factor in his decision to sell had been competition from an ever-increasing number of hotel chains in York, which made life increasingly difficult for the city's remaining privately owned hotels.

He said some staff at the hotel had been made redundant and others had retired, and next Monday would be the hotel's last day .

A report to the council by DSP Architects said the hotel was one of four large and prominent villas built on the main route into the city and overlooking the Knavesmire in 1833.

While not listed, many Georgian architectural period features were evident and the building was important in the street scene of the conservation area.

John Reeves, chairman of the Helmsley Group, said: "It’s a shame that private hotels are finding it hard to survive against more impressive, modern competition but the positive is the property will be reverted back to one spectacular house as it was originally designed.

“A lot of these properties are flats but we are not going to do that. We want to see this brought back to its original heyday.”

Mr Reeves said the property was likely to be returned to a six or seven bedroom house which would fetch a “substantial sum”.